Bob Smith was born in Martin on March 18, 1925, left home to serve in the U.S. Navy Construction Battalions “Seabees” in 1943, and returned home. In the 1990s he received the honorary title, Tennessee Colonel, for his community and church work.
Beginning in 1886 the African-Americans in Martin celebrated on the 8th of August to commemorate the date history said slaves learned of their freedom at the end of the Civil War. Eventually the celebration was moved to the 3rd Sunday in August and the name changed to Homecoming. The celebration begins with a ballgame, goes on to Bar-B-Cue “eating” and ends with a dance that might last until the cock crowed in the morning. Mr. Smith has been involved in ensuring the continuation of this celebration tradition.
Mr. Smith is a member of “Martin Beautiful” and has been instrumental in getting created “Adopt-a-Site” flower beds for Miles Chapel CME Church (where he worships), Miss Pearlie Hays (long-time African-American public school teacher), Willis Brown (African-American Weakley County educator), Charlie Moore (African-American elementary school cafeteria cook renown for his delicious rolls), and Mr. McCabe for whom McCabe Methodist Church is named.
Mr. Smith also contributes articles to the Weakley County Press about black history in and around Martin of which his most recent concerned a community west of Martin called Mt. Pelia.
Martin Tigers, 1941
Regarding this picture, Mr. Smith said he was in the stands with iced cokes in a box/tray with a strap around his neck. he sold cokes into/through the 4th inning and did not have to pay to see the game. At that point someonelse assumed responsibility for the soft drinks!